The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Canadians want Anglican Church to ordain women and homosexuals: poll
According to an Angus Reid poll released today, the majority of Canadians think the Anglican Church should ordain women and homosexuals. The poll was conducted after a decision by the Church of England—the mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion—to ordain women as bishops.
Here are the key findings:
- 75% of Canadians think the Anglican Church should allow women to be ordained as bishops. More women (81%) than men (68%) share this view.
- 55% of Canadians support the decision to allow homosexuals to be ordained as Anglican priests or bishops. Women (65%) are also more inclined than men (45%) to agree with this directive.
The Anglican Church first ordained homosexuals in 2003.
From the Western Standard archive, I recommend “Crisis in the church” by Candis McLean as a compliment to this story. McLean reports that Canadians in search of a meaningful religious experience are turning away from liberalized congregations and turning to evangelical churches in record numbers.
And if that's not enough, pick up Dr. Michael Wagner's newish book Standing on Guard for Thee. Jon Dykstra with Reformed Perspective called it "a gore-filled account of Canada's spiritual decline...."
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When activists do the polling they will always achieve the desired results.Bet they stayed out of all rural areas on this poll. Revisionist history is now in full swing and what was abnormal not long ago will be shaped to fit the agenda of todays revised guidelines with the help of the HRC.You may not be able to spank your out of control child, but you will soon be able to marry your sheep or go to the pedophile pride parade at the rate we are going.How low can we go??.Just watch the Jerry Springer show.
Posted by: peterj | 2008-07-23 7:03:42 PM
Canada is one heck-of-a-socialist nation. About 65% of voters choose to vote for socialist or socialist-like political parties. Canada may be going to hell in a bread basket on steel rails from sea to shining sea. PMSH must tread carefully. He's got the experience, the smarts and the guts to manage politics well in this great dominion.
Posted by: dewp | 2008-07-23 7:59:29 PM
The church should ignore polls and decide what it stands for.
Posted by: TM | 2008-07-23 10:05:13 PM
"Canadians want Anglican Church to ordain women and homosexuals."
I personally know some gay guys and some women too. They are as good as other when comes the time for fairy tales; so why not ?
On the other hand, I'm always amused when some people wish to change the rules of a religion. A religion is a religion; either you espouse the rules of it or you don't. So stop fuckin around.
Posted by: Marc | 2008-07-23 10:29:41 PM
I guess it's time for a new prophet to go up the mountain, when there is no one else around, and come back down a few days later and claim God spoke to him, and rewrite religion yet again.
Posted by: glen | 2008-07-23 10:50:18 PM
Marc, mon ami:
Those last two sentences were about the most sensible I've read from you.
BTW, parables are a literary style which convey a deeper meaning.
Fairy tales are fantasies, much like the Anglicans run their political party disguised as a religion.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-23 10:55:01 PM
'Pollsters' should show some guts and ask Canadians if they think Islam should have gay or female Imams - or maybe at least stop calling for the stonings or deaths of of all and sundry in their sermons....
Posted by: philanthropist | 2008-07-23 11:26:15 PM
As a Christian who was born and raised in the Anglican Faith I can, with absolute certainty, tell you this. Public opinion polls are meaningless when it comes to what the Chruch should and should not do!
Regarding Ordination (who gets to be a Priest, Deacon, or Bishop) the only thing that is to be considered is the Holy Word of God (aka the Holy Bible). To find what God has to say about this issue, please refer to 1 Timothy 3:1-16
Posted by: AMP | 2008-07-24 6:36:32 AM
So what if "Canadians" want the Anglican Church to ordain women and homosexuals? (BTW, the Anglican Church did NOT ordain its first homosexual in 2003. What the comment probably means is the AC "officially and openly" ordained its first homosexual in 2003. The Anglican Church has been ordaining homosexuals for centuries. The only difference is that until 2003, one was expected not to ACT on one's sexual orientation if one was a homosexual and a priest--or a layperson for that matter. Now, you can have a partner and live in the rectory...)
My question would be, are "Canadians" willing to attend and support the Anglican Church? Just because one thinks the Anglican Church should do or not do something doesn't translate into supporting the institution, which is why I say "so what?" when a majority of Canadians--are they Christians?--want the Church to do something.
The Christian religion has never been dependent upon "popular opinion." If it had been, Jesus would never have been crucified--and Christianity would not exist. Unfortunately, however, the "new" Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) does seem to depend on popular opinion and has been letting the tail wag the dog for some decades now.
If you were to poll Anglicans in the pew across Canada I'm clear that they would say no to homosexuals living the gay lifestyle being ordained. I'm not so clear how they'd vote on women priests/bishops, but it wouldn't be the 81% reported by the Angus Reid poll.
The ACC has been hijacked by the leftist/feminist/socialist/activist hordes who are Hell bent for leather on turning the ACC into a pale shadow of its former self and a primer for a model of politically correct rectitude in all things. What's the point of having a Church if it's nothing more than a poor replica of society? The Christian Scriptures say that Christians are supposed to be IN the world but not OF the world.
It would seem that the political activists in the ACC have it backwards. They are OF the world big time and have dragged the ACC into their revisionist view of the way things ought to be. They have divorced themselves from the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, the Word of God, and have tried to revise the world in THEIR image rather than honour God's creation made in HIS image.
They've done this in the name of "tolerance" and "inclusiveness," even though they are distinctly intolerant of those who disagree with them and are loathe to include them in the deliberatons at diocesan, national, and international synods.
I am a former Anglican. Anglicans are leaving the ACC in droves, for Bible-believing Catholic and Evangelical churches. Church is Church--you're right, Marc. "The rules of religion" are laid down by God and it behooves those of us who call ourselves Christians to adhere to God's creation, His Church, as he intended them to be, not as we with our revisionist glasses want them to be.
I'm not giving the ACC a very long shelf life. Maybe the Angus Reid poll would like to ask all of the Canadians who want it to ordain women and active homosexuals if they are willing to support such a church with their time, treasure, and talent. I'm sure Angus Reid would find an inverse proportion of supporters to those who want to see this Brave New Church.
Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy).
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-24 7:10:10 AM
And the majority of Canadians are Anglicans?
Wonder if anyone realizes how the slithering Leftist creep has taken us ever closer to the total ruination of Christendom?
When religious tenets become anything anyone wants them to be, they stand for nothing but a mockery.
Posted by: Liz J | 2008-07-24 7:45:02 AM
Kyrie Eleison makes several very good points. Like him, I also am no longer attending the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC), but still identify myself as an Anglican. I am deeply saddened that what used to be wonderful Church that provided meaningful Communion with God to generations of Parishioners, has now become a church of false prophets. Those who forced the abandonment of God upon this denomination have made Faithful people like me feel unwelcome and unwanted, and so I (and many others) have left. This exodus has been occuring at a rate of 2% per year for several decades now. Strange coincidence that this exodus started around the same time that the revisionists began influencing the church and has continued unabated, with women priests and later the ordination of women bishops, the effective replacement of the Book of Common Prayer with the (misnamed) Book of Alternative Services, the acceptance of homosexual behaviour and later the licencing of homosexual priests, the blessing of homosexual relationships and now the blessing of homosexual marriages, and lately clergy making public statements that Jesus Christ might not be divine and that He might not be the only way to salvation.
The point that I am making here is that this is not an issue about sex! It is an issue of being Faithful to the Word of God! Which I am sad to say, the ACoC no longer is.
I mentioned that the ACoC is declining in membership at a rate of 2% per year. To those who would have the ACoc continue in its abandoment of God I ask, will you take my seat in the pews? Will you donate enough money to offset the amount that I used to, but no longer, donate? Will you give the same amount of time that I used to give? Or, at a decline of 2% per year, will you let this denomination die a slow and painful death that will occur within the next 50 years?
Posted by: AMP | 2008-07-24 7:59:02 AM
One former Anglican priest in Fort Saskatchewan, northeast of Edmonton, left several years ago for a more traditional apostolic church, citing ‘increasing apostacy.'
Ted Byfield beat him to it by a decade or so.
Byfield, BTW, is the original publisher of the Alberta Report, the forerunner of this website.
I'm unsure what Byfield's position is on the pro-marijuana stance that seems to be permeating here, but I'd guess it differs somewhat with his views.
That's ‘progress,' I suppose.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-24 9:12:02 AM
why ask non-anglican canadians what's right for the anglican church? it's none of their goddamn business.
Posted by: pogwim | 2008-07-24 11:06:25 AM
In response to pogwim.
You ask non-Anglicans what they think if you have an agenda which includes pressuring the Anglicans into changing their church to better suit a secular/atheist society. What Anglicans must do is to say to the secular/atheist society that we will not change our Church. That it is secular/atheist society that must change to better suit God.
Posted by: AMP | 2008-07-24 12:21:49 PM
AMP: how about neither side changing to suit one another or one another's god? how about secularists and christians minding their own business and not forcing their views down one another's throats? what i don't understand is why gays and feminists feel the need to change the churches that already exist, against the wishes of many of the congregants. they should just start their own explicitly pro-gay/pro-feminist religious institutions.
Posted by: pogwim | 2008-07-24 1:38:15 PM
pogwim: "...what i don't understand is why gays and feminists feel the need to change the churches that already exist, against the wishes of many of the congregants. they should just start their own explicitly pro-gay/pro-feminist religious institutions."
'Couldn't agree with you more, pogwim.
You see, the reason they don't want to start their own churches is because they don't have the commitment or faith or perseverence to be able to maintain a Church much less start one.
The actual agenda of the activist gays and lesbians is not to just be "accepted" by the mainstream Christian churches, it's to destroy those churches.
And, guess what? That's exactly what they're doing. Your question is a good one.
The vast majority of gay activists isn't interested in the Christian Church nor in supporting the ministries in Christian churches, which revolve around baptizing, confirming, marrying, and burying people and providing for the needs of the less fortunate, including counselling for confused, hurting-and-in-need-of-healing people and food and clothing for the poor.
No. That's not their main interest at all.
They're mad as Hell at the Christian God and the Christian Church and are, literally, Hell bent for leather on destruction. Amazingly, for around 3% of the population (Kinsey's 10% has been debunked, seeing as he surveyed a prison population and came up with that figure. I'm surprised it wasn't larger.) they've been astonishingly effective in their campaign to infiltrate and change the direction of the churches--at least the mainline Protestant churches such as the United Church and the Anglican Church. No doubt, the Presbyterian Church will be next, as they're moving very quickly in that direction.
The politicking at the various Anglican synods over the last ten years has been fierce and rather nasty. Anyone who has resisted has been marginalized by the powers that be. 'You want to become a bishop or a canon or be assigned to a "nice" parish? Then, you've got to agree with the gay (and the feminist) agendas. The powers that be will brook no opposition on these fronts.
The so-called dialogues called for ten years ago were pretty much one-sided: Straights and ex-gay individuals were more or less constrained to listen to the stories of active, out-of-the-closet gays, while the stories of heterosexuals and ex-gays were all but non-existent.
"Dialogue" and "inclusiveness" sound wonderful except the stories did not encourage a healthy give and take and, frankly, did not include the stories of either straights or ex-gays who had made intentional decisions to leave the often destructive gay lifestyle.
The Zacchaeus Fellowship has had a difficult time being heard by the House of Bishops, even though they are men and women who have decided to hold to the church's historic view of sexuality in the face of former or present struggles with same-sex attraction.
Here is a link to their Web site:
IMHO, the Anglican Church of Canada is in free fall. As many former Anglicans feel, we did not leave our church, it left us. Kyrie Eleison.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-24 3:10:46 PM
Well, batb, I suspect one reason that the numbers were so high is that a significant number of people don't regard the Anglican Church as Christian, and thus see no reason why it shouldn't disgrace itself in any way it likes.
Posted by: ebt | 2008-07-24 4:13:32 PM
The first thing I should have pointed out about Christian Churches--I guess I was thinking this is implicit, but of course, it's not for most people--is that they are about turning people's hearts to Jesus Christ and His message about the Kingdom of God. Central to His message is that we must repent of our sins and give our lives to the One who created us. Like Him, we are called to lay down our lives for others.
This message is hotly resisted by the gay activists and their allies in the Church, which is why they can never start a Church of their own--and which is why loving, professing Christians cannot buy into their revisionism.
There is no Christian Church divorced from Jesus Christ and His saving death, resurrection, and ascension. Refusal to believe in and live out God's plan for us, in which He has proclaimed that He makes all things new--that in Him, we are a new creation--cannot be the basis on which a Church is either started or can continue to thrive.
This is precisely the predicament of the Anglican Church of Canada. It must wither on the vine because it has turned its back on the source of its life. This is a very sad time.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-25 6:18:09 AM
True Christians do not engage in "forcing their views" down the throats of others. Admittedly, in the past there have been many people who have been over zealous and have forced their views on others. However these people have not behaved in a true Christian manner. There are numerous incidents in the Holy Bible in which we are taught to offer our Faith to others, but never force it. Reference Matthew 19:16-30, and Matthew 10:1-42. If you read Matthew 10, you will understand why I say “it is secular/atheist society that must change to better suit God”. In this instance it is very similar to someone telling an alcoholic that they must overcome their addiction. The wording is subtle and deliberate. The sinner is to change himself/herself. Reconciliation with God cannot happen when someone else forces a sinner to change, for if it happens this way, than the sinner does not truly repent.
I would also like it noted that in Toronto, Ontario (and possibly other places) that there is the metropolitan community church, which was started by the lgbt lobby and that it is an explicitly pro-gay organization that (in my opinion) pretends to be a church.
The lgbt lobby has taken over the Anglican Church of Canada, and they have made it abundantly clear that I am no longer welcome nor wanted. In fact, they have deliberately driven me out. For what I must wonder. For they have not donated their time to the good work of the Church. They have not donated their skills/abilities to help the Church function. They most certainly have not donated their money.
The questions that I asked at the end of my first posting remain unanswered. Thus, I will ask you directly:
Will you, pogwin, take my seat in the pews?
Will you, pogwin, donate enough money to offset the amount that I used to, but no longer, donate?
Will you, pogwin, give the same amount of time that I used to give?
Or will you, pogwin, stand aside and watch the Anglican Church of Canada die a slow and painful death?
Posted by: AMP | 2008-07-25 6:23:16 AM
It is really amazing, reading all of these posts, how those who claim to be faithful christians can spew for so much venemous hatred. The problems within the church today are not the women clergy and the gay priests, it is the HATEFULNESS of the members. That is correct, the problem with the church today is the HATEFUL attitudes of the members. The church is turning into a church of HATE, not a church of LOVE. That is the real issue.
Posted by: CL | 2008-07-25 6:27:46 AM
CL, GIVE ME A BREAK.
What "hatred" is being spewed here? None that I can see. I guess if you're looking for "hatred" you can find it almost anywhere, even if there isn't any.
Is it, CD, that people are making statements here with which you disagree? That isn't "hatred" and to characterize it as such is intentionally malicious and confrontational, a characteristic I have long noticed about gay activists and those who support them.
You'll need to be very specific in your allegations. Hatred is a very strong word, and one that is overused these days when certain factions find that their views are being disputed. Unfortunately, the gay activist lobby has used this kind of "argument" for a very long time, but it holds no water.
For instance, for years now, the position of many gay activists in the Anglican Church has been "If you hate my lifestyle, you hate me."
That's a load of nonsense. It would seem that they have no knowledge of Scripture, because Jesus has admonished Christians to "hate the sin and love the sinner." I may be in total disagreement with the gay lifestyle which, BTW, leads in too many instances to sickness and early death, but I contribute to ministries that reach out to those with HIV/AIDS and have many gay friends who I love dearly.
What's "hateful" about that? (The average lifespan for heterosexual or non-sexually active Canadian males is 78; the average lifespan for Canadian males active in the gay lifestyle is 49. Mentioning this is not "hatred." This is a statistical fact.)
So, grow up, CD, and support your charge that commenters here are "spewing...venomous hatred." Support with facts what is "loving" about what's happening in the ACC, as large numbers of Anglicans are leaving a church which they feel has left them. What is happening in the ACC is nothing short of a revolution, and I challenge you to defend, using Jesus' teachings and two centuries of the Christian Church's teachings, the "new" teachings, which are from representing a consensus, of the ACC regarding homosexual acts.
Jesus is love, that is true. But He has also told us to repent of our sins--and that means ALL Christians for ALL of their sins, not just sexual sins, so that none of us are off the hook. This idea that the church must be a church of love is all very well--and it is what the Lord calls us to be--but it cannot mean that anything we choose to do is OK. Any parent knows this. It's called "tough love."
I think you're going to have to get a handle on this, CD, in order to genuinely understand what kind of church the Christian Church is called to be. Jesus calls us to personal sanctity and accountability, which means each one of us repenting of our sins, not glorifying them or being "proud" of them and insisting that others accept them.
That is asking too much.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-25 8:14:53 AM
Correction: CD in above post should read CL.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-25 8:15:33 AM
One more correction:
"which are from representing a consensus" should read
"which are FAR from representing a consensus"
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-25 8:18:43 AM
You accuse people like me (and I presume me directly) of being "hateful". Obviously you do not understand the situation. I am not the one doing the attacking. I am the one who is being attacked!
I am the one who has been told that I am to no longer use the Book of Common Prayer when I worship God.
I am the one who has been told to accept the authority of, and to receive Communion from, women and homosexual bishops and preists (this is a violation of 1 Timothy 3:1-16)
I am the one who has been told that marraige now includes homosexual unions (this is a violation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
I am the one who is now being told by people pretending to be Anglican priests that Jesus Christ is not the only means to salvation.
I am the one who is now being told by people pretending to be Anglican priests that Jesus Christ might not be Divine!
I am the one who is being attacked by the forces of the evil one. If you think that my reaction to this is "hateful", than you are grossly mistaken.
I am saddened to see my Church being destroyed.
I am wounded by having been driven out of my traditional place of worship.
Am I being "hateful" when I speack these truths?
Now, when I speak out against the injustices that have been committed against my Church, you have the nerve to accuse me of being "hateful"! You have poured salt into my wounds and intesified my pain. So I now ask you this. Is it I, the one who is feeling the pain, that is being "hateful"? Or is it you, the one who is inflicting the pain?
Posted by: AMP | 2008-07-25 8:37:43 AM
Seems to me as a Roman Catholic that the canadian Anglican Church understands its need to continue to evolve individually and as a Church. I wish that my Church understood this concept. The Episcopal Church USA seems to be more tolerant and understand what the Holy Spirit is really saying to us than does my Church. I am not interested in changing religions, but I am interested in personal and institutional growth. All this talk about secularism and socialism in these comments is really about rigid belief that refuses to listen to what the Holy Spirit really want from us.
Posted by: rd | 2008-07-25 8:40:16 AM
It's sad to see the Christian churches torn apart to accommodate those who wish to live a life contrary the tenets of those churches. The United Church seemed to cede to their demands without much objection. The Anglicans just divided and have pretty much lost their way.
There's such a small percentage of homosexuals among us and an even smaller percentage of them are activists. It's also hard to understand why so many say they have many friends who are homosexual, I personally know none.
My feeling is, why do I need to know a person's sexuality if they're obeying our laws and minding their own affairs like everyone is expected to do in civil society? It's too much information.
It's just another example of how far the Lefty creep has gone.
Posted by: Liz J | 2008-07-25 8:48:40 AM
To Liz J
You make a good point. But did you notice that it is the glbt activists who are not "minding their own affairs". They are deliberately attacking the Anglican Chruch, meddling in the what the Church does, and changing what the Church teaches about God. In effect taking the Anglican Church away from God.
Additionally, the glbt activists are not "obeying our laws", which I mean to be the laws of God as given to us through His Holy Bible.
Posted by: AMP | 2008-07-25 8:57:24 AM
Within my church, which can trace its beginnings in an unbroken line to apostolic times, there has been a recognition that homosexuality is a temptation.
Many individuals who have conquered a variety of sexual temptations have been sainted.
We all know of Mary Magdalene, possibly St. Mary of Egypt who turned their backs on various sexual temptations and embraced the fullness of spiritual life.
Verbal tradition tells us there have been those with homosexual desires earlier in their lives who have struggled against acting out on their desires and have become sainted later in their lives due to their contribution to the church. That included bishops, administrators of geographical regions.
There is more to Christianity than being a ‘Bible-believing church.'
Of course, it was the early church that formulated the Bible and its tenets based on the universal truths which continue to withstand the tests of time.
But while the Bible is a good starting point, it is just a bunch of words on paper unless its tenets are applied to the human experience.
We in the Orthodox east have understood that ascetic values are a more reliable path to understanding our natures than the theological paths.
That intellectual, rational approach is one of the main issues which continued to divide Rome (the Pope is the BIshop of Rome, one city of the ancient world) to leave the main body.
If you're interested in more details on the debates, google St. Gregory Palamas.
In the theological path, being a part of the priesthood was merely optional and anybody could pontificate their particular viewpoint.
Protestantism fragmented from Rome and the continued use of theological rationalizations has led to even more fragmentation of though, leading to where we are today.
Has that particular way stood the test of time? If you look at the United and Angllcan traditions, the answer would be no, it has served more to drive wedges among its congregation that to help them understand spiritual matters.
Members of my own congregation include many professional people who make positive contributions to society ... doctors, lawyers, personnel managers ,,, so it's not as if the ascetic tradition means you have to shut down your brain.
Our understanding is something that comes from the heart (I know it's a tough concept to understand), some moral compass built in within us that we become more and more attuned with.
What's happened to these particular intellectual understandings is they've ‘progressed' to the point where they have started to embrace what the church originally intended to separate humanity from.
They become ‘of this world,' since the issues they focus on today have little to do with individual's thirst for a connection to the universal truths.
That is why they will continue to become more irrelevant.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-25 9:26:43 AM
To AMP: you posted:
"You accuse people like me...of being "hateful".
NO. What I said was:
It is really amazing, reading all of these posts, how those who claim to be faithful christians can spew for so much venemous hatred.
I will cut and paste a few of the comments as examples:
--- "stop fuckin around"
--- "slithering Leftist creep"
--- "none of their goddamn business"
--- "how about secularists and christians minding their own business and not forcing their views down one another's throats"
There are many issues that need to be addressed and reconciled. My comment was directed at the rhetoric and the emotions behind the rhetoric, not the people or the issues. As we all know, hate in any form will only precipate more hate and will never provide an acceptable resolution to a problem.
It is easy to get caught in the emotions of a moment and forget to approach the issue from a loving pastoral perspective. Arent we as Christians supposed to be "striving" for something more christlike? Arent we supposed to strive to be more of the example that Christ set for us?
Posted by: CL | 2008-07-25 1:30:59 PM
CL, I made none of the comments you were referring to, but I would like you to address some of the issues I brougt up.
I agree with you, that as Christians, we most assuredly are "supposed to be 'striving' for something more christlike" than calling people names or striking out in frustration and using intemperate language around this issue--or any issue.
The Church, however, has standards of behaviour, for the good of each individual and the community, which it seems that gay activists prefer to overlook. "Feeling love" seems to be the only criteria they feel is important, whereas repenting of our sins and living lives of sanctity and holiness are what the Christian Church has, for millennia, put before Christians as the kind of lifestyles we should be striving for.
Please address the hating the sin and loving the sinner aspect of this issue. In brochures and public statements made by gay Anglicans wanting to change the ACC's position on gay relationships/lifestyles, they have stated many times that "if you hate my lifestyle, you hate me."
Now, that's venomous and hateful and simply not true. And it needs to be addressed.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-25 2:30:49 PM
If people are honest, not ceding to appease those who wish to change the tenets of a particular faith to accommodate their lifestyle, is not about hate.
Hate is a term used by those who are responsible for the "slithering Leftist creep" to support their agenda. They're out to dismantle, tear down and make a mockery of denominations based on the Christian Doctrine. It's difficult to see how people can profess Christianity and not live it.
It's a bit rich for people to expect to be blessed for any activity which is specifically deemed sinful in the Christian Bible and in the tenets of our churches.
One also has to wonder just how religious some of these people are. In many cases their religion may be nothing but activism.
Applying "love the sinner, hate the sin" to homosexuals is outrageous, that's rather like lumping them in with such deviants as sexual
perverts and murderers. That's become a catchphrase that needs to be more carefully dispensed.
Posted by: Liz J | 2008-07-25 3:34:25 PM
I dont have any good answers. Every day I witness firsthand the carnage that all forms of hateful behaviors ultimately precipitate. When I see it within our congregations it frightens me, because I know where it will ultimately lead.
How do I discern the difference for myself? I use 1 Cor 13 as a tool for determining if my attitudes, actions, reactions are appropriate.
I also pray daily that someone smarter and wiser than I am will be guided to the answers that will restore peace and harmony into our congregations, and I pray it will happen soon.
Posted by: CL | 2008-07-25 3:40:18 PM
As long as the intellectual theologians are deemed the guiding force, the only direction any congregation can go in is the divisiveness and judgmentalism. In other words, it becomes just another political party ... totally devoid of love.
Only by searching out, with a pure heart, the values of the ancient Christian church can true spirituality be understood. And only through an ascetic approach can an understanding to universal truths and inner peace be accomplished.
That's just the way it is and the way it always has been.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-25 3:50:06 PM
I understand, CL, your concern about divisiveness in Christian congregations and the lack of peace and harmony. But I would suggest that the lack of harmony has a great deal to do with our recent departures from lifestyles that, for two millennia, have been considered normative by Christian communities the world over.
It IS very disturbing. But I also suggest, like set you free, that we need to look way past our own petty understandings, desires, and concerns to a much greater picture, which is the panoramic Christian wisdom of the past 2,000 years, passed down to us from other Christians via the Christian Church.
Just because, for instance, the Desert Fathers lived hundreds of years ago doesn't mean that their collective wisdom, based on the timeless (another word for ancient) Scriptures is not relevant for us today. We also need to look to the lives of the apostles, the disciples, and all of the Saints, to see what their collective wisdom says, always based on our Sacred Christian texts. We don't see a brief for same-sex blessings, and that is just a fact not a value judgment. (There have been attempts to suggest that certain relationships in the Bible were homo-erotic such as Jonathan and David, but they have pretty much been debunked by serious Biblical scholars.)
It seems these days that we are willing to throw out all of the shared wisdom of two millennia because we think we know better--based on what time-tested wisdom? Our social experimentations over the past 40 years have been disastrous for families, children, and society, and have created whole categories of dysfunction and hurt that many "experts" today seem helpless to know how to deal with.
Why are we so eager to launch more social experimentation when it comes to partnerships and same-sex blessings? Only today in the papers, I saw two stories about lesbian partnerships which have broken up; the courts are not sure what to do about custody issues, especially when a child was conceived by "an anonymous donor" and where one of the women carried the child and now wants sole custody...Why do we even want to venture into this uncharted, and quite chaotic, territory?
The one thing we can probably agree on is the fact that this issue is tearing the ACC apart. I do not think it is an issue on which orthodox Christians can or are willing to compromise, as it strikes right at the heart of God's creation and how He has ordered it.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-25 10:13:19 PM
Your last paragraph sums it up well, batb.
Posted by: Liz J | 2008-07-26 6:43:08 AM
"set it free" said it very well -- "with a pure heart" -- My major concern is not so much the issues, as the "heart" of our congregations, the "keeping a pure heart" as we work through the issues.
These are troublesome times, troublesome issues. The last thing we need is to complicate an already complicated situation by allowing any kind of a "non-loving" attitude to take hold and fester within us. That will do us more harm than any issue ever will. God has allowed Fred Phelps and his congregation in Topeka Kansas to be an example of what can happen to any of us if we are not diligent in that regard.
The example of Jesus in the garden is the example I believe God wants us to follow. Jesus knew he was going to be murdered, yet when peter took his sword to the servant, Jesus stopped him, healed the injury that peter inflicted, teaching us clearly that was not Christ's way.
Posted by: CL | 2008-07-26 7:50:19 AM
Well, I'm still trying to get a handle on what you're getting at, CL.
Are you saying that voicing grave reservations about the direction our churches are taking, in relation to the same-sex question from the perspective of biblical teaching, is like Peter's taking a sword to the ear of the servant?
I, obviously, don't see it that way. There has to be a way for Christians who don't agree with the direction the same-sex issue is taking our churches to be heard without the charge of being unloving and impure of heart.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-26 9:08:37 AM
Wouldn't it be interesting if one of the side effects of the homosexual act would be that a big horn grew out of one's forehead? Can you imagine all the bishops who have the luxury of remaining closeted now running around with the horn. Just think of how much money the plastic surgeons can make cutting off the horn.
Posted by: Pam | 2008-07-26 10:14:51 AM
Pam - what a visual
horny bishops running around chasing plastic surgeons
Batb, I'm trying to say stand within conviction, do what there is to do, but dont turn into a Fred Phelps in the process.
Posted by: CL | 2008-07-26 1:18:25 PM
CL and batb:
Not meaning any disrespect, but this is a much deeper question than you seek an answer for.
In short, it demonstrates a fundamental weakness of Western Christianity ... its tendency to apply scriptural principles to events and machinations of the world.
Eastern Christianity ie all ancient denominations in the larger world outside the city of Rome, formally rejected this particular practise in the 14th century in an issue known as the Hesychast Controversy.
The approach of the Eastern Orthodox churches has, since its inception, focused on helping the individual move toward a closer understanding of God.
Don't know if either of you have heard of Barlaam of Seminara.
In short, the Byzantine Church confirmed several times that the deepest spiritual understanding, based on human experience of biblical principles, could best be understood through an ascetic approach.
Barlaam disagreed, criticized patriarch St. Gregory Palamas, was rebuked and found a willing audience in Rome, which embraced a different approach.
As a consequence, without getting into too much detail, the realm of Ceasar and the realm of God became quickly blurred and divisions occurred almost immediately as human intellect started competing against itself.
It's no historical accident that the entire Protestant movement branched off from Rome.
Now, the branches are branching off into even smaller fragments, all based on Barlaam's approach.
What we are witnessing today is the death throes of those branches which have grown so far from the original roots that they cannot understand where the nourishment comes from.
And, at the tragic extremes, many will fall into the trap of believing they are Gods in their own right by cloaking their own political viewpoints with scriptural syrup.
Render onto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's, render onto God which is God's. That's about as simple a solution I can offer and about as good a starting point there is to unravel this mystery.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-26 1:30:55 PM
syf: As much as I value your contribution, there's no way we can go back a few hundred centuries to the first great divide. And, as much as I admire the Orthodox Churches in all of their many branches, we've gone way past the markers you're talking about. Sadly.
I have to hand it to Rome, however, as the largest denomination in the worldwide Christian Church: They, like the Orthodox Churches, have held the line on any number of issues which "the world" is putting enormous pressure on them to "be more progressive" about.
The Roman Church, much like the Orthodox Churches, I suspect, has a very long lens and tends to look at things from the perspective of hundreds of years--which, given the panorama of history and all of the variables thrown in, is probably a rather wise stance.
CL, I'm not sure who Fred Phelps is. I'll have to Google him. I do think, however, that the ACC has been very quick to follow the worldly Pied Piper with some rather disastrous results. I also think that the onus is on those who wish to change millennia of the Church's teaching to prove that what they are proposing is, in fact, efficacious, life-giving, and WJWD.
I propose that the same-sex marriage lobby has not done this--and that it is actually not possible until we have the perspective of a few hundred years to see what the social/psychological/spiritual effects of such a societal change might be. Just a few decades of social experimentation--with vociferous pro- and anti-lobbies--has not exactly resulted in an optimistic prognosis.
Why are we in such a rush?
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-26 5:54:48 PM
CL, I just Googled Phelps.
Yikes. Methinks you have brought in a straw man to knock down.
How many in the ACC do you know who talk like Fred Phelps?
Frankly, my dear CL--and I was born and raised an Anglican and until recently WAS an Anglican, in church every Sunday--I don't know anyone who holds his views. No one. And, I'm including individuals and groups who are struggling with the issue of same-sex blessings and marriage and who, so far, are not convinced.
I'm sorry you feel the need to bring extremist Pastor Fred Phelps into the conversation. He is not Canadian, nor is he a member of either the Episcopal or Anglican Communions. If you can name a Canadian Anglican leader whose views alarm you, I would be interested in hearing who they are and why their views are problematic for you.
Otherwise, your concerns would seem to rest on a straw man/straw argument.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-26 6:04:18 PM
My sympathies to the plight you find yourself in.
I will continue to pray that you will eventually discover the true path.
FYI, my late father-in-law was an ordained deacon in the Kootenay Region (is that the correct designation?)
He also did not recognize the Anglicaism of his youth, knew in his heart the direction was leading to imminent disaster, but died powerless to do anything about it ... may his soul rest in peace.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-26 7:10:37 PM
I'm having difficulty communicating here.
I have followed the activities of Fred Phelps congregation for several years. He is the classic example of where christians can end up if we lose our focus and allow the seeds of bitterness to take hold and grow. No one I know is even close. However, recently, some of the rhetoric I have heard in various places reminded me of his early rhetoric. I simply do not want to see any of us even remotely get close to going down that path.
Posted by: CL | 2008-07-26 7:15:02 PM
Theologians are the problem, not the solution.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-07-26 7:43:27 PM
Thanks for the clarification, CL. I understand. Like you, I would be deeply disturbed if those with genuine concerns about the direction the Anglican Church of Canada is taking used the same rhetoric as Fred Phelps. God forbid that would happen across the board. There will always be individuals on the fringe--on both sides of a debate--who use intemperate and inflamed language to try to make their point.
There IS such a thing, however, as hating the sin and loving the sinner. People do it with me all the time: Love me, but hate what I've either done or said. 'Same with me and others. I'm thinking especially of my children. There are many things, over the course of years, where I have strongly objected to some of their behaviour, some of which, naturally, has been sinful, but all the while, I have loved them, cared for them, and prayed for them.
The same can be said for genuine concerns about the same-sex issue. I have been--and many others are also--deeply solicitous and caring of gay friends, while also being deeply disturbed by some of their behaviour which, BTW, has led in some cases to HIV/AIDS. I have had some heart-to-heart talks with them about where I stand on things and where they stand, and what my objections are, and yet we remain friends.
That, to me, is how we need to proceed: not by silencing the dissenting group which, after all, was not "the dissenting group" until very recently, against the backdrop of 2000 years of pretty much tried-and-tested wisdom regarding human behaviour.
Thanks for listening.
set you free: Thank you for your prayers. I really appreciate them. By God's grace I don't feel powerless to do anything about the direction the ACC has taken. I frequently pray for the ACC. If you are implying that having been received into the Roman Catholic Church leaves me powerless, then so be it!
PAX. May God have mercy on us all.
We all need to pray for one another.
Posted by: batb | 2008-07-27 6:55:18 AM
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